Three people are to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrates Court after gold weighing 73.5 kg and valued at R61 million was found in their hand luggage at the OR Tambo International Airport.
The trio had just flown into South Africa from Madagascar and were en route to Dubai via Ethiopia. The gold bars and some foreign currency were discovered after a security scanner identified irregular images and their hand luggage was inspected.
A multi-disciplinary team consisting of the South African Police Service, the South African Revenue Service customs officials, the Department of Health (Port Health officials) and officials from the Department of Home Affairs arrested the trio at the international arrival terminals.
Both the gold bars and foreign currency have been seized for further investigation under the Customs and Excise Act and the Exchange Control Regulation. The suspects have been detained and the matter has been taken over by the SAPS Organised Crime unit for criminal investigations.
Investigations are also underway by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation with the assistance of Interpol, with authorities from various countries to determine the legitimacy of the certification papers as provided by the men and also to determine the country of origin where the gold was mined.
Investigations will also focus on which country the gold bars were destined for. The three face charges of dealing with precious metal and contravention of the Customs Act.